Sunday, January 30, 2011

As It Should Be

One thing I love about my church is the fact that we truly go out into the world to change people's lives.  We have built and run an orphanage in El Salvador and are building one in the Bahamas.  We are working on a sting operation at an undisclosed location in the world to free young girls from the sex slave trade.  We also have built two water wells in Kenya, Africa.  Our 'ambassador' of sorts from Kenya is a delightful little man named Michael. Periodically he comes to our church and gives us an update on the progress of the wells and what a difference it has made for his people. 

Michael is from the Masaai tribe (sp?) and therefore lives very modestly.  When I say modest, I mean, his home is built out of cow dung.  Recently he and his wife took in 6 orphans. When our pastor asked him how he could manage to feed everyone, Michael responded, " I gathered everyone together and told them, I will do my best to make sure we all eat with each other. If we can't, then we can die with each other."

Isn't that the beauty of family?  Through good times and bad-you have some one there for you, by your side.

As it should be.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


It's January and I think I just got my first sunburn of the year.  I couldn't WAIT to get out there and prune some shrubs, dig some weeds, and generally play in the dirt. :) 

When it's nice like this I love to open windows and allow fresh air into the house. I also open our back door, as we have a screened in porch and the open door really allows for some good breezes to come through.

It also allows critters to come through.

A little Carolina wren thought my house looked like a GREAT place to build a nest, so he flew right on in!  And then flew into my bed room! 

I grabbed the kids 'fishing net' they use at the beach for minnows and raced into the room.  I shut all the closet doors, and poised myself for attack.  As I stood there, that little bird flew right up and landed on the edge of my net.  And sat there.  I was perplexed for a moment...I had him right where I wanted him,...yet, he was impossible to catch.  I was outsmarted by a bird.

Eventually I did net him and out the door he went.  I wonder what he's telling all his little birdie friends right now.....

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Funnies

Jokes my kids have shared with me as of late:

What do you call a boomerang that doesn't come back when you throw it?
A stick.

What  do you call a vampire who is all alone on the streets at 3 in the morning?
A cab.

What kinds of balls don't bounce?

I love a good joke.  Too bad none of these fall into that category! Just kidding-I laughed at every one.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Now THAT'S a Show I Want to Watch.

Jersey Shore.  Skins.  16 and Pregnant.

Help me, Rhonda. These shows are on more often than I like and I am always worried about my kids getting a glimpse of them.  The only defense I hear is "It's what teens are doing."

I want to know one thing...where are the shows that show what teens SHOULD be doing?

THAT I would LOVE to see.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Feedings

Our menus for the next several days...

Spaghetti, garlic bread, salad

Chicken Gyros with cucumbers and fresh spinach, hummus and pita chips and fruit. Maybe I will try to make the pita bread. Maybe.

Veggie Chili

French Onion sandwiches (cubed steak, grilled onions and melted Swiss on sub rolls), fresh fruit and French Fries

Beef Stir Fry with peanut sauce, noodles and Asian slaw

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Who Says Shakespeare is Complicated?

We are studying the Middle Ages in history and of course we had to come across Shakespeare.  The Shakespeare Can Be Fun! series is an awesome addition to our studies!  Lois Burdett has retold some of Shakepeare's classic plays in a way for children to understand, but she still includes several original quotes and keeps with the poetic feel of each play. 

I'll admit- I was daunted thinking of reading a Shakespeare play with the kids, but then I remembered...these plays weren't written for scholars and educated people.  They were written for the public. Many of whom, back then, would have thrown a  half eaten sausage onto the stage if he didn't like or understand what was going on.  So, I think we will fare just fine!

Monday, January 17, 2011

My 'Hood Runneth Over

Homeschool moms all agree...neighborhood kids are a priceless commodity.  It's music to my ears to hear my kids say "I'm going to play with _____!" as they head out the door. I don't have to drive them anywhere.  I don't have to be a constant presence.  It's like they have the opportunities to have great fun or make incredibly bad choices, but hey, it's all on them.

This past weekend my kids discovered a new family a few houses down.  They have 10 kids. *AND* they homeschool.  And one of my most wonderful friends gave them a thumbs up, as she already knows them through a homeschool group they both belong to.

Best of all-I literally prayed the other day that some homeschooled kids would move into our neighborhood.  Ask, and you shall receive. My 'hood runneth over!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Poetry Friday

The Cold

Freezing cold outside
Ice still lingering around-
Can't wait til springtime.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Socialization. Yeah.

Every time I hear that word my butt puckers. "Socialization."

I admit, when I pulled my kids out of public school the one thing that I had a difficult time with was the "S" word.  I *knew* my kids would get a better education academically.  But I truly was worried that they would become withdrawn and unsocial.

BOY was I wrong. Over the past three years my kids have actually participated in *more* extracurricular activities than they were able to while in public school.  My son did take piano and baseball, but it was a mad rush to get there after school and by the end of the day, we were all hungry, tired and grumpy.  Kinda sucked the fun right out of it.  Now they take piano, homeschool tennis, ballet, sports (depending on the season could be soccer, baseball, basketball), chorus, and we are about to begin our first ever co-op next week.   They have friends who live up and down the street that they play with when they are home from school.  They have homeschool friends they meet for playdates and parties and field trips.

So now I cringe at the "S" word, but for different reasons.  YES, we love all of these activities.  However, sometimes when I think about all of our obligations I need a paperbag to breathe into. How will we get it all done? How will we manage to, oh, I don't know, actually have SCHOOL?

Moments like this happen and then I have a parent-teacher conference with myself.  The beauty of homeschooling is the flexiblity of it.  If we need a catch-up day, there is always the weekend. Most of these activities are finite, lasting only a few weeks.  And by participating in these activities we are out in the real world, which was a big reason why I wanted to homeschool.  And yes-my kids are learning how to have independent relationships with other kids, something they would miss if I were to only schedule playdates with kids we already know and if I were to hover over them the entire time.  (Which, anyone who knows me, knows I am anti-hover.)

So, while these activities pull us in all directions, they are as much a part of their education as the stuff we learn from the books. 

And the reason I posted on this is so next week, when I feel the need to hyperventilate into a paperbag, I can go back and remind myself WHY I do this. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Bad Luck? Or Good Luck? You Decide.

Bad luck:  9:00 p.m. Saturday night- the night before a rare snow/ice storm is predicted to hit our area- our heater conks out.
Good luck: It conked out right before bedtime, so the house retained enough heat to keep us warm enough through the night. (When we got up it was 60 degrees in the house. Chilly, but not too bad.)

Bad luck:  The next morning several businesses and schools were closed due to the snow and ice. (Did I mention we live in the South?)
Good luck: My dad has a friend in the heating and A/C business.  We called his number out of sheer desperation. He answered his phone and said he was working that day. Yay!

Bad luck: The roads were dangerous in some areas.
Good luck- The heating guy was at the mall which is about 5 minutes from my house. The roads from there to here were safe for travel.

Bad luck: The motor in our heating unit in the attic was toast.
Good luck: Mr. Heating Man happened to have a motor in his van to replace it.

And because I am a 'Silver Lining' kind of gal, the good luck out weighed the bad....
Good luck: My kids had friends who were home from school and were able to walk to their houses to warm up until the heat got fixed.

Good luck: Mr. Heating Man was working on his own time and was able to give us a $400.00 discount on his services. All hail Mr. Heating Man!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Thought for the Day

"Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned." ~Peter Marshall

Friday, January 7, 2011

Okay. So I live in the Stone Ages. I like it here.

My son is 11 years old. The age when most parents start the debate on whether or not to buy a cell phone for the child. Being that we homeschool, the typical reasons for wanting a cell phone for my son are null and void. He won't be staying after school for any meetings or activities. The activities he does participate in, either it's a sport (which HELLO- what parent would miss watching their kid on the field or court?) or another homeschool activity such as tennis lessons, piano or chorus (not worth me dropping him off for one hour just to turn around and come back to get him.).  Playing at friends houses, well, the parents have a phone. So there is no justifiable reason for him to have a phone.

But the reason I REALLY don't want him to have one is this;  a pet peeve of mine is going out to dinner, or the grocery store, or pretty much anywhere and seeing a kid with their eyes glued to their phone, thumbs texting 90 to nothing. Ignoring their parents, friends, and anyone else who happens to be around them.   Possibly worse than that is seeing a parent out at a restaurant with a child and the PARENT yapping away on the phone while the kid eats in silence.

Ironically it seems that 'communication devices' have caused a downward spiral in a lack of real communication- face-to-face conversation.  It's isolating teens and tweens from family moments. It's robbing them of memories they could be making.  I want my children to learn the art of conversation. The give and take...the emotion shared when laughing with someone, or when offering sympathy.  I want them to greet people they meet with a confident smile and greeting, not a disturbed grunt when they are forced to take their eyes away from their phone and greet someone. 

So, here my little family will sit in the Stone Ages with no tweens having their own phones. That's okay. At least I am here with great company.

Friday Feedings

Our menus for next week:

Crispy Baked Chicken, Salad, Curried Broccoli and Cauliflower (courtesy of my friend Jen)

Meatloaf "Muffins" (cooked in individual servings in a muffin tin), creamed potatoes, English peas.

Chef's Salad

BBQ Pork Loin, Sweet Potatoes, and Corn

Hashbrowns, Sausage, Eggs and Biscuits with some fresh fruit on the side.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Wow. I have a blog.

   Okay. Here I am! My first blog post. It's kind of like being handed a microphone and suddenly having your mind go blank....not sure what to say. 
   I am the accidental homeschooler-meaning, when my littles were around three or four years old I though homeschooling was appalling. How would those children ever learn to function in the REAL WORLD? Poor kids. Doomed to be weirdos.
   Then public school came....and I found myself becoming more and more disappointed in the 'system' as time went on. NOT the teachers, no, they were all lovely. Well, there WAS this one...but, moving along.....little by little I realized that being a 'weirdo' didn't look so bad.  Sure, my friends thought I was crazy.  My family thought I was crazy.  Heck, *I* thought I was crazy.  It was like taking both of my kids under my arms and running towards a cliff.  Little did I know that when time came to jump, ...we learned we could fly.